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Global Smart Infrastructure - The Direction is Smart Cities and AI

Smart cities need to invest in the ICT platform


LONDON, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- While a holistic approach towards the development of smart cities is still often missing; in 2015 there are some good examples both nationally and internationally of councils that are moving in the right direction. We are migrating from Smart Cities being a concept for the future and are now seeing cities make tangible plans and infrastructure decisions to support such a transformation.

This also means we can begin to see more clearly the obstacles and challenges involved. The most difficult issue to resolve in building smart cities is the funding. And this is not unique, all sectors and industries that are facing transformation are dealing with the same problem. The transformation process will not be possible unless investments are made in the ICT platform.

The most important element of a smart city is direct engagement with citizens, businesses and others. Not only is their support essential, through their enthusiasm and demand for services (and their votes) they can assist in building business models that can lead to investment.

Councils will have to take a leadership role in developing smart cities in order to keep pace with the technological developments that their citizens are embracing and the expectations they have in relation to the economic, social and lifestyle aspects of their city. Increasingly less leadership can be expected from other levels of government, yet at the same time it is the councils that are suffering from the burden of issues such as economic transformation, the need for job growth, sustainability and liveability, city infrastructure and the lifestyle of their citizens.

Overall the process towards smart communities already underway through global interconnection - facilitated by technologies such as the internet, broadband, smartphones and mobility. The latest developments are in M2M (machine-to-machine) and IoT (Internet of Things) sphere where we link machines and different data sets together and use so-called 'big data' technologies and analysis to better manage the various aspects of our society. This will lead to interaction and even integration between these two developments – merging humans and machines, something that is becoming increasingly possible and leading to the broader concept of artificial intelligence (AI).

Key developments:

The IOT age is here, and that means that there are more and more technologies that can be used in developing Smart Buildings and Smart Homes.

The home is considered by many as the next battlefield for technology companies, where all home devices would connect in an Internet-of-Things environment controlled by a smartphone or tablet.

In mid 2015 the ITU formed an IoT and Smart Cities study group.

Earlier in 2015 cities in Europe and Brazil established the Open & Agile Smart Cities Task Force (OASC) as collaboration to help municipalities and start-ups create smart city services within their area.

Smart vehicles are vehicles that can think, communicate with each other and the transport network, and take action to improve safety and efficient operation. The first combinations of advanced driver assistance features are becoming available in some 2016 vehicle models and offer semi-autonomous driving under specific circumstances.

More smart devices will be introduced into homes, office buildings, electricity systems, cars, infrastructure, and indeed cities and countries in relation to the environment, sustainability, healthcare, transport, national security and many other sectors of our economy and our society.

Wearable technology is no longer in its infancy. In 2015, it has become a healthy and thriving industry. Its scope goes well beyond exercise tracking, to reflect an ever-broadening range of possible uses. Wearables will become an integrated technology used in our emerging smart communities of the future.

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